REPORT: Czech Film Springboard @ Finále Plzeň 2022
- L’iniziativa annuale di settore, che raggruppa opere ceche in fase iniziale di sviluppo, ha presentato i lavori di esordio della nuova generazione
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This year’s line-up of projects in early development, curated by the domestic industry platform Czech Film Springboard of Finále Plzeň, spotlighted the youngest generation. The rising filmmakers are making films about their generation’s preoccupations, encapsulating not only a collective psyche but a state of affairs. The leading topics are mental health issues, the differences between growing up in the analogue and digital age, facing dishonest authorities, and coming out.
We’re Not Doing Fine by Natália Antoňáková
One of the newcomers at this year's edition of Czech Film Springboard is budding screenwriter and director Natália Antoňáková. She is a FAMU screenwriting graduate who is set to direct her feature-length script We’re Not Doing Fine. She has won the Star of Tomorrow award for the script in the annual scriptwriting competition of the Czech Film Foundation. The writer-director follows three Gen Y peers as they grapple with mental health issues and crises of committed relationships. “I am going to create three-dimensional and believable characters, whose life struggles, mistakes, and aspirations will authentically portray the life of generation Y,” revealed Antoňáková. The production is preliminarily scheduled to start in autumn 2023, while the world premiere is expected in 2024 or 2025. The producer is open to other co-production countries and to exploring possible collaboration with Poland.
Smarty & Fang by Jan Bártek
Another feature-length debut pitched at the initiative is the intergenerational coming-of-age adventure Smarty & Fang, written by Tomáš Pavlíček and set to be directed by emerging filmmaker Jan Bártek. Producer Katěřina Buzková, of Czech production outfit DARQ Studio, described the project as a story set in a summer scout camp that would compare growing up in the analogue mid-90s with the perils of digital childhood in the early 21st century. The Czech Film Fund supported the script and project development. Because the project is in its early development stages, with a second draft of the script already polished, Buzková expects principal photography to begin in summer 2023 or 2024. The producer is currently seeking co-production partners among fellow scouts, sensing a strong community in Germany and Poland.
The Thirty-Seventh Kilometre by Sasha Stelchenko
A coming-of-age drama with elements of a mystery thriller, The Thirty-Seventh Kilometer is the directorial debut of Minsk-born, Prague-based writer-director Sasha Stelchenko. The budding director has already caught the attention of international professionals with his short film Deserter, about a couple’s son reported missing in action in Ukraine. The Thirty-Seventh Kilometer follows 17-year-old Sonja, who fails to help a young soldier who deserted the local military base. Her frustration over the soldier's disappearance leads her to search for the truth about the isolated military town and its rules. She alienates her father, a retired army official, in the process. The situation in Sonja’s hometown takes a sudden and bloody turn, and the protagonist faces a moral challenge. Stelchenko describes his debut to be a story about “the disillusionment, dignity, strength of individual commitment and the force of collective action.” According to the director and producer, Kantemir Balagov’s Closeness [+leggi anche:
scheda film], Amat Escalante’s The Untamed [+leggi anche:
scheda film], and Cristian Mungiu’s Graduation [+leggi anche:
Q&A: Cristian Mungiu
intervista: Cristian Mungiu
scheda film] serve as crucial artistic references for the project. The Czech Film Fund supported the project's development, which is expected to last until 2024. Principal photography will begin the following year so that post-production may be completed by early 2026. The world premiere should follow in the spring of 2026. The film’s producer Dagmar Sedláčková, of MasterFilm, revealed she hopes to bring more co-producers on board, especially from the Baltic states and Poland.
Thinking David by Šimon Holý
Producer, writer, director and composer Šimon Holý is the only one in this year's selection not to be presenting a feature debut. Holý’s film career took off these past two years with the semi-mumblecore chamber piece Mirrors in the Dark [+leggi anche:
intervista: Šimon Holý
scheda film], about a millennial couple, and the follow-up project And Then There Was Love… [+leggi anche:
intervista: Šimon Holý
scheda film], about a mother-daughter relationship on an esoteric weekend retreat. Holý´s newest project Thinking David is his most ambitious and biggest to date. The semi-autobiographical coming-of-age drama explores the issue of a minority within a minority through the experiences of the titular young Jewish boy David, who comes out to his family, friends, and community after a trip to Israel. The Czech Film Fund supported the script and project development. Helium Film, which produced the most successful domestic documentary, Caught in the Net [+leggi anche:
scheda film], is producing Holý’s third feature-length project. Thinking David is a five-sided co-production between the Czech Republic (Helium Film, šššššFilm, Czech Television), France, Hungary (Filmfabriq), Israel (Laila Films), and another country will likely join soon. A third of the film will be shot on location in Israel, while principal photography is scheduled for a significant total of 45 days, starting in spring 2024 and expected to wrap in December. Many scenes will require plenty of extras, and the budget for the project has climbed to €2,000,000. Even though the production will be large, the post-production process should be fairly rapid, and the final cut could be ready as early as May 2025.
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